SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
2:1 In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar had many dreams. His mind was disturbed, and he suffered from insomnia. 2 The king issued an order to summon the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men in order to explain his dreams to him. So they came and awaited the king’s instructions.
3 The king told them, “I have had a dream, and I am anxious to understand the dream.” 4 The wise men replied to the king: [What follows is in Aramaic] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its interpretation.” 5 The king replied to the wise men, “My decision is firm. If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered and your homes reduced to rubble! 6 But if you can disclose the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts, a reward, and considerable honor. So disclose to me the dream and its interpretation.” 7 They again replied, “Let the king inform us of the dream; then we will disclose its interpretation.” 8 The king replied, “I know for sure that you are attempting to gain time, because you see that my decision is firm. 9 If you don’t inform me of the dream, there is only one thing that is going to happen to you. For you have agreed among yourselves to report to me something false and deceitful until such time as things might change. So tell me the dream, and I will have confidence that you can disclose its interpretation.”
10 The wise men replied to the king, “There is no man on earth who is able to disclose the king’s secret, for no king, regardless of his position and power, has ever requested such a thing from any magician, astrologer, or wise man. 11 What the king is asking is too difficult, and no one exists who can disclose it to the king, except for the gods—but they don’t live among mortals!”
12 Because of this the king got furiously angry and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So a decree went out, and the wise men were about to be executed. They also sought Daniel and his friends so that they could be executed.
14 Then Daniel spoke with prudent counsel to Arioch, who was in charge of the king’s executioners and who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon. 15 He inquired of Arioch the king’s deputy, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. 16 So Daniel went in and requested the king to grant him time, that he might disclose the interpretation to the king. 17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the matter. 18 He asked them to pray for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that he and his friends would not be destroyed along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then in a night vision the mystery was revealed to Daniel. So Daniel praised the God of heaven, 20 saying:
“Let the name of God be praised forever and ever,
for wisdom and power belong to him.
21 He changes times and seasons,
deposing some kings
and establishing others.
He gives wisdom to the wise;
he imparts knowledge to those with understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things.
He knows what is in the darkness,
and light resides with him.
23 O God of my fathers, I acknowledge and glorify you,
for you have bestowed wisdom and power on me.
Now you have enabled me to understand what we requested from you.
For you have enabled us to understand the king’s dilemma.”
24 Then Daniel went in to see Arioch (whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon). He came and said to him, “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon! Escort me to the king, and I will disclose the interpretation to him.”
25 So Arioch quickly ushered Daniel into the king’s presence, saying to him, “I have found a man from the captives of Judah who can make known the interpretation to the king.” 26 The king then asked Daniel (whose name was also Belteshazzar), “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I saw, as well as its interpretation?” 27 Daniel replied to the king, “The mystery that the king is asking about is such that no wise men, astrologers, magicians, or diviners can possibly disclose it to the king. 28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed are as follows: